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Life on board


Pilots put to test on round-the-world solar journey


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How will the Solar Impulse 2 pilots eat, sleep or go to the toilet? Before the take-off, Bertrand Piccard gave a tour of the cockpit. (SRF/swissinfo.ch)

The plane propelled solely by the sun took off from Abu Dhabi on Monday on a 35,000km voyage. Piccard and fellow pilot André Borschberg are taking turns to steer the plane around the world. 

From its first landing place, Muscat, it will make 12 stops over five months, with a total flight time of around 25 days.

The adventure is aimed at promoting green energy. The plane is powered by more than 17,000 solar cells built into its wings, but thanks to the aircraft's innovative design, it weighs just 2.3 tonnes – about the same as a family 4X4.

The biggest challenge will  be crossing the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. To make the crossings, the pilots will have to fly non-stop for 120 hours - or five days and nights – a feat they haven’t yet attempted.

Swiss public television, SRF, found out how the pilots will function during their epic journey.